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Thread: lead fouling question

  1. #1

    Default lead fouling question

    I've got an XD in .45 acp. I handload all my ammo and just recently started loading lead bullets. This is my first experience with cast bullets. I love the way they shoot and the price aint too bad either. The first time I cleaned the gun after shooting lead it took forever to get the fouling out. The next time I shot the cast bullets (about 100rds), I followed them with about 50 rds of jacketed bullets and, viola, lead fouling gone. Really easy to clean afterwards. I've done this a couple times since with the same results. Anyone see any danger to me or my gun doing this? Is switching btw cast and jacketed bullets a bad idea?

  2. #2
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Just to your pocket book. Get the lead out with a Lewis lead remover. Cheaper than a box of jacketed bullets.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

  3. #3

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    You can get the Lewis here. It's a great tool.

  4. #4

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    "Chore Boy" copper scrubbing pad material wrapped around a brass brush used dry.

    The video that came with my Wilson 1911 suggested this technique. Fast and easy. I love shooting cast bullets. It's a huge savings and they are quite accurate.

    I've heard that shooting copper bullets through a lead fouled barrel can drastically increase pressures. I'll let others chime in that know more about that than I.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by OKIEinAK View Post
    I've got an XD in .45 acp. I handload all my ammo and just recently started loading lead bullets. This is my first experience with cast bullets. I love the way they shoot and the price aint too bad either. The first time I cleaned the gun after shooting lead it took forever to get the fouling out. The next time I shot the cast bullets (about 100rds), I followed them with about 50 rds of jacketed bullets and, viola, lead fouling gone. Really easy to clean afterwards. I've done this a couple times since with the same results. Anyone see any danger to me or my gun doing this? Is switching btw cast and jacketed bullets a bad idea?
    This makes me wonder if you weren't shooting SWAGED lead bullets from Hornady or Speer rather than actual CAST bullets. The difference is significant. Swaged bullets are really soft and will lead easily even at very low velocities, while most bullets cast of wheelweight equivalent or harder should lead little or not at all when fired at 45 ACP velocities.

    From the severity of leading you're describing, I'm betting those were soft swaged bullets. You might search out a source of actual cast bullets, and I bet your leading issues will drop to near zero.

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    From one who has hand cast over a half million bullets and shot thousands you have a problem with the bullet and or lube. My bet would be on the bullet being swaged and that is SOFT lead. it is total JUNK for bullets. I shoot cast bullets full speed in my .357mag and .44mag and i do not have a leading problem at all. You need to shoot a hard bullet with a good lube and you will never have a leading problem. my .44mag has an 8 3/8" barrel and no problems! you will want to try Kead bullets at www.keadbullets.com they are great bullets.

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Swaged bullets have there place in shooting. For target loads at low speeds they are vary hard to beat. I've shot thousands in competition in .22 rimfire and in .38 special and .45acp. No leading problems what so ever. The velocity was kept low for the .38 and .45. The Remington wad cutter was the finest match revolver and 52 S&W loads I have ever shot.

    In all my wadcutter .45acp's, the Hornaday and Speer were excellent.

    Keep the speed under 1,000 fps and you won't have trouble with lead swaged bullets. 800-900fps being best.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Well you can use what ever lead removal system you want, but I personally hate dealing with leaded barrels. If your serious about preventing it, instead of just dealing with it, then I would suggest a couple of additional steps you can, and should take beyond what has already been posted here on this topic. But to reiterate some things and state a couple others I will offer up a few things for your consideration:

    Most common causal factors for leaded barrels (in no particular order)

    Too hard of alloy for the pressure range of the load (this prevents the bullet from obturating and sealing the bore resulting in the combustion gasses melting the sides of the bullet and plating the bore)

    Too soft of alloy for the pressure range of the load (this may result in smearing of lead in the bore)

    Too small of diameter bullet (much like one that is too hard, a too small bullet will allow gas cutting and subsequent bore plating)

    Rough or pitted bore (think abrasive action, mechanically stripping lead from the bullet)

    Insufficient or ineffective bullet lube (hard lubes commonly found in commercially loaded ammo, or bulk bullets is less effective [ in my opinion ] than soft lubes at pistol velocities)



    First off, go get yourself a pure lead (soft) 50 caliber muzzle loading round ball and pound that puppy into the muzzle end of the barrel with a rubber mallet. Then knock it back out with a wood dowel and measure it for groove and bore diameter. Write those dimensions down or save the “slug” for future reference. Your cast or swaged bullets should never be smaller in diameter than the larger of those two measurements. Ideally your bullets should be larger in diameter by .001 to .003 in my experience. Then take your kinetic bullet puller and pop a bullet out of one of those cartridges and measure it. Look at the lube, and try denting it with your thumbnail………… Too small is a problem, crummy lube is a problem, cant make a dent with your thumbnail is a problem. If all that checks good, and I seriously doubt that it will if you have leading, then its time to look at the gun.

    I would bet it is either a swaged bullet as mentioned by the others on this thread (typicaly indicated by a "knurled" looking bullet with no grease grooves), or its too hard, too small, or worst case………………..small and hard! I would guess that 95% of the leading issues I have seen over the last 10 years have been due to undersized and excessively hard bullets. Why there is such a “craze” for “hard cast” bullets is beyond me, but you will see them advertised everywhere, while for most applications with standard loads a bullet of 10 to 15 bn would be ideal. 20 to 22 is simply too hard for most loads, and requires a comparatively high pressure to properly obturate and seal the bore.

    Like the Doctors say “don’t treat the symptoms, cure the disease”
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    A recent article by Mike Venturino in the June 2008 Handloader Magazine about cast bullets for Auto Pistols says, among other things ......

    "On the opposite end, my opinion is that the harder the alloy the better for semiautomatic pistols. Not only do autoloaders shoot more accurately with hard alloys in their shallow rifled barrels, but hard bullets also make the slide up from the magazine into the chamber much more readily than soft alloy bullets".

    Keeping in mind the things that Alangaq has said, but based on Mike’s experience with Autos, I'd go with a hard alloy when in an Auto Pistol with shallow rifling. I suspect it will also rectify your leading problem.

    No, I've not used cast bullets in an auto pistol myself.

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    Smitty how dare you disagree with me! How many times do I have to tell you that I am always right? Ok, seriously now, Smitty has a good point and I also read MV’s article in which he stated his preference for casting his auto loading bullets out of linotype at a bn of about 22. If I recall correctly MV’s opinion was (and I agree to an extent) that the softer alloys have a tendency for deformation or damage in the magazine but more importantly tend to “grab” or “hang up” on the feed ramp. That said, I think I would personally try alloys in the 14 – 16 bn range as they should be hard enough to feed reliably yet soft enough to obdurate with moderate to heavy charges. But if your not a caster then see if you can bum some hard cast and load them up and see how they shoot. Really its all about experimentation and your specific gun / load combination. All the “leading” issues I posted earlier are generalizations, and from time to time there will obviously be combinations that work well while ignoring the norm.

    If you want me to cast you up a few 230 gr HP to try, and your not in a hurry to get them, just let me know. 12, 18 and 22 bn are your choices from my alloy stash. I also have a 250 gr FPRN mould but I don’t know if those bullets would feed or not…………….
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    Smitty how dare you disagree with me! How many times do I have to tell you that I am always right? Ok, seriously now, Smitty has a good point and I also read MV’s article in which he stated his preference for casting his auto loading bullets out of linotype at a bn of about 22. If I recall correctly MV’s opinion was (and I agree to an extent) that the softer alloys have a tendency for deformation or damage in the magazine but more importantly tend to “grab” or “hang up” on the feed ramp. That said, I think I would personally try alloys in the 14 – 16 bn range as they should be hard enough to feed reliably yet soft enough to obdurate with moderate to heavy charges. But if your not a caster then see if you can bum some hard cast and load them up and see how they shoot. Really its all about experimentation and your specific gun / load combination. All the “leading” issues I posted earlier are generalizations, and from time to time there will obviously be combinations that work well while ignoring the norm.

    If you want me to cast you up a few 230 gr HP to try, and your not in a hurry to get them, just let me know. 12, 18 and 22 bn are your choices from my alloy stash. I also have a 250 gr FPRN mould but I don’t know if those bullets would feed or not…………….
    I have not messed around with alloys since I got on to the 6-2-92 mix. I've had no problems, or complaints. I was loading for a group of guys that were shooting class three stuff in .45acp and 9mm. Lots of ammo for that crowd. That's the formula that Magma Eng recommended when I bought their equipment. It has been a no brainier with that mix. I use the same mix for everything else except my small rifle stuff for the Shutzen barrels. Way to hard. There I go to twenty to one.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

  12. #12

    Default Thanks

    Thanks alot guys...once again you have proven to be a great resource! Interesting point about the increased pressures with the lead fouled barrel and copper jackets. That's the kind of thing I was really worried about. I havn't noticed any signs of increased pressure on my brass to this point and I tend to load a little light anyway. The first loads I tried were some 185 gr SWC that I bought from a buddy of mine. I was having a feeding problem with them but that's a whole nother ball of wax. Maybe I'll try some harder bullets and see what that gets me. The lead fouling with the 185's wasn't a huge amount but definately noticable. probably just soft lead from what you all have posted. By the way, anyone know somewhere local that I can buy a bunch of 200-230 gr RN hard cast bullets. I think they might feed better than the SWC's. It's not a ramp issue but the ejecting cartridge catches on the lip of the incoming one from the magazine and knocks it off the ejecter...stove pipe almost every time it jams, especially with a full magazine. Thanks again.

    John

  13. #13

    Default oh yeah

    and thanks for the offer Alangaq, but I think 250g RN might be a little more than I'm looking for.

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    Alangaq:

    Shucks, I knew you were right all along. I guess I just didn't make it clear enough.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
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